The Fort Wayne Fire Department (FWFD) today announced it has reached an agreement with Three Rivers Ambulance Authority (TRAA) on the future of local ambulance services in an effort to enhance emergency medical services (EMS) to the public.
As part of the agreement that would take effect Jan. 1, 2017, pending approval from the TRAA Board of Directors, the FWFD will receive funding from TRAA to offset the investments made by the City of Fort Wayne that will result in a firefighter paramedic or advanced EMT on every fire engine. This will allow for advanced life support to be at an emergency scene through the FWFD to begin providing life-saving care upon arrival.
Also as part of the agreement, the FWFD will no longer pursue becoming the sole operator of ambulance services in the community. TRAA and Paramedics Plus will continue to provide ambulance services.
“We’re encouraged by the partnership and collaboration that took place to move emergency services forward in our community,” said Fort Wayne Fire Chief Eric Lahey. “It’s critical to provide the most efficient and effective care possible to the public. We’re looking forward to future successes as we work together to serve and protect Fort Wayne.”
“We believe this is a true win for our community as it retains high-quality ambulance service that Fort Wayne has received from Three Rivers Ambulance Authority for over 30 years and enhances that service with ALS first response provided by the Fort Wayne Fire Department in cases in which they arrive on a scene first and the patient’s condition could benefit from advanced care prior to an ambulance arriving,” said Three Rivers Ambulance Authority Executive Director Gary Booher.
The new partnership is intended to provide synergies in the areas of response times, education, planning, productivity and maximizing resources. Property taxes would not be used to subsidize the payments to the City under the agreement.
The FWFD has been assisting in providing emergency care for 30 years and is part of the fabric of emergency services in Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne firefighters respond to over 8,000 EMS calls per year. This year alone, the FWFD has successfully reversed 104 heroin overdose cases.
Next week, the FWFD’s first class of firefighter paramedics will graduate as part of the FWFD’s 89th recruit class. The 11 paramedics will begin serving as Fort Wayne firefighters on Wednesday, Nov. 23.